(Left to right) Spring Dell Center Job Development Coordinator Tina Sheff, Gail Pace, and Employment Specialist Selena Gibson.

La Plata, MD  – While many focused on an extra day in February marking 2016 as a Leap Year, Patricia “Gail” Pace focused on celebrating her retirement with Sagepoint Senior Living Services in La Plata, MD. After 15 years of employment, Pace walked into Sagepoint’s dining room on her last day to find a crowd of her peers, family and friends gathered to celebrate her accomplishment. Among those in attendance were Sagepoint President/CEO Bill Holman, VP Plant Operations Mike Mudd, and Spring Dell Center Job Development Coordinator Tina Sheff, each taking a few moments to comment on Pace’s commitment to her position.

“You’re without a doubt the most incredible staff person we have in housekeeping,” said Mudd during the retirement reception.

Pace started at Sagepoint when it was known as Charles County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, taking on a job in the organization’s laundry area. Pace’s placement resulted from supports provided through Spring Dell Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities in the community.  Diagnosed with severe learning disabilities, Pace’s supports included a job coach who worked with both her and the business’s staff to establish communication techniques, learn duties of the position and teach Pace how to advocate for herself.

With a strong support system in place, she quickly moved up to a full-time position in Housekeeping taking on duties such as cleaning the nursing stations, dining room and lounge areas while assisting Sagepoint residents to tidy up their rooms.

“She is a perfect example of organizations working together to make a difference and change lives,” said Sheff. “They are the business providing the opportunity, and we are the bridge connecting skills and talents for successful employment, linking the person to the community so they can accomplish their life goals.”

After 15 years of being an active part of her community, Pace now embraces retirement, celebrating this achievement just a few weeks after her 65th birthday.“She’s been looking forward to it,” explained Sandra Mathieson, Pace’s sister. “She tells everyone she sees, you know I’m going to retire!”

Pace plans to start with a bit of relaxation but ultimately go back to assisting people in the community, which she explains was her favorite part of the job she held for so long.

“For the first month I’m not going to do anything, but then I will walk around the block as my exercise and see what type of volunteer work I can get into,” Pace said. “I like working with people and the residents.”

As for now Pace looks forward to expanding her hobbies since she has a little extra time in her schedule, adding to her collection of books, reading, writing and going to the library.

“If I get some extra money I’m going to spend it at the bookstore,” explains Pace.

“Sagepoint has connected Spring Dell’s employment department for years to recommend dedicated, dependable and experienced employees,” says Sheff. “They are an organization that believes in providing equal opportunities and experiences to both their workers and residents. Everyone, staff and residents, has had a part in Gail’s success.”